Waiting for Lilacs

Many of you know that my mom passed away from cancer when she was only 53 years old. I wonder sometimes what it would be like to have her help in raising Jax, but I have to believe in my heart that she’ll always be here with us.

I’m proud to share that I had my first essay published on Brain, Child today. The essay is about the circle of life and how even though things are not in our view anymore, they are still here.

I would love it if you read my essay and shared it with your people. It’s an story that is very close to my heart and I would love to see it give comfort and peace to someone else who might need it.

Here’s an excerpt:

“A swath of springtime sun filtered through the curtains and bathed my mom in dust motes as she rocked back and forth in the chair. Her yellow skin clung to her cheek bones, and she smiled.

“I’ve decided to put the hospice bed here so I can look out the window and see the lilacs bloom,” she said. Every morning, she looked out to the gangly bushes with anticipation, and every morning their stubborn buds failed to burst.

“Hopefully tomorrow, mom,” I told her, pretending I thought she would make it.

Five days after she decided to live for the lilac bloom, she surprised me.

“Let’s have a party,” she announced. She could barely get out of bed. She hadn’t eaten for days. Her skin was grayish now, and her cheeks were hollow. It really didn’t seem like the best time to host a party.

“Well, we do love parties in this family,” I conceded, “but I don’t know…”

“We’re doing it,” she interrupted. I think she was afraid that the cancer that was killing her body was also killing her legacy – she needed to know people hadn’t forgotten about her, that she still mattered.

So, I began planning my mom’s final party.

We invited everyone she knew to her “living wake.” Would anyone come? Not many people are comfortable with an obvious manifestation of death, and here death was, laying in a hospice bed waiting for lilacs and parties.

The morning of the party mom’s eyes were slits, and her body was motionless. I stared at the long list of RSVP’s and I got nervous. Did we really want 100 people in our house right now? “Are you sure you still want to have the party?” I asked.

“Yes. Party,” she said. Her voice cracked and I sponged water on her lips.

Those were the last words she ever spoke to me.”

Read more of my essay Waiting for Lilacs on Brain, Child.


Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

8 thoughts on “Waiting for Lilacs”

  1. Oh, this essay is lovely and so sad. This brought back so many memories for me… my mother had ALS and several years before she passed away, she planted a lilac bush. It never bloomed, and it bothered her until the day she died. Beautiful piece.


  2. I love your writing and this is spectacular. I was at that party and by the time I got home, she was gone. It still doesn’t seem real.💘


  3. Andrea, you have all of your mothers gifts and I’m so proud to call you my Great Niece. I remember that “living wake” day right down to the dust. Thank you for sharing your article.
    Way to go “author”.


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